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Mysterious centuries-old car boot sale find up for auction at Hansons London on December 15

Posted on 05/12/2018 in Press Coverage

A car boot sale bargain that’s believed to be centuries old and Islamic in origin is coming up for auction in London on December 15 – and could soar to glory.

Karl Martin, 49, from Derby, bought two pots – a jar and a vase - for £4 at a car boot sale in Willington, Derbyshire, five years ago, one of which has just sold at a specialist antiquities auction.

Mr Martin said: “I wasn’t sure how old they were but I love historical items and thought they looked special. I used one as a toothbrush holder in my bathroom and the other, a black and silver vase, suited the black décor in my bedroom.”

Mr Martin, who loves all things quirky and collectable and fulfils his passion by working for Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire and London, was prompted to find out more when he spotted similar items at his workplace.

“I saw a jar similar to the one I’d been using for my toothbrushes in our saleroom, had it assessed and found out that it was potentially around 4,000 years old and dated back to the Indus Valley Harappan Civilisation in Afghanistan, circa 1900 BC.”


Karl Martin with the pot he used as a toothbrush holder. Main image: The black and silver vase.

The ancient jar sold for £80 from an estimate of £50 at Hansons’ Antiquities Auction in November and sparked worldwide media interest due to the quirkiness of the discovery – and what it was used for.

“There were stories about my toothbrush jar in Austrialia and America as well as the UK,” said Mr Martin. “I was in The Times, Mirror and Mail Online. I even heard my find got a mention on Sara Cox’s Radio Two show.

“But for me, the black vase is even more special, though it’s been harder to find out exactly how old it is or where it was made.

“Two experts have looked at it and it’s thought to be of Islamic/Turkish origin, dating back to the 17th or 18th century. It’s been decorated with a complex floral/leaf pattern in silver and I’m told it’s pure silver.

“If anyone has something similar and could tell me more, I’d love to know about its origins.”

The Islamic vase is due to be sold at Hansons London’s December 15 auction with an estimate of £150-£250.

“Islamic items have done very well at Hansons London, so I thought it would be interesting to see how much interest my vase sparks,” said Mr Martin.

Chris Kirkham, associate director of Hansons London, said: “The vase is a fascinating piece and I hope it does very well. In our February auction, a late 19th century copy of the Quran sold for £6,500 from a guide price of £150-£200. The beauty of auctions is that you never know what might happen if someone wants something badly enough.”

The Islamic vase is due to be sold on December 15 at Hansons London, The Normansfield Theatre, 2A Langdon Park, Teddington, TW11 9PS. To find out more, or if you have any information to share with Karl Martin, please email [email protected] or call 020 8979 7954.

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